Meanwhile, it is hard to imagine anyone else as the god of thunder Thor than Chris Hemsworth. However, another person almost got the Marvel role.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) could have looked very different: Originally, instead of Scarlett Johansson, Emily Blunt (“Oppenheimer”) was considered as Black Widow, as well as John Krasinski (“The Office”) instead of Chris Evans as Captain America, among others. Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman even auditioned for the role of Drax in “Guardians of the Galaxy” before the job went to Dave Bautista.
In the upcoming book “MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios,” which you can pre-order here on Amazon, authors Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales and Gavin Edwards talk about the creation and decision-making processes of some Marvel films (via Vanity Fair). They revealed that Thor actor Chris Hemsworth was not the first choice for the God of Thunder – even one of his brothers and one of his later “Thor” co-stars were among the top candidates for the character.
Chris Hemsworth had to prove himself as Thor (against his brother)
Since the first “Thor” film was originally to be produced by Sony, James Bond star Daniel Craig was offered the role, but he turned it down. A few years later, when “Murder on the Orient Express” director Kenneth Branagh took over the project at Marvel Studios, numerous Hollywood stars auditioned for Thor: Charlie Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy”), Joel Kinnaman (“Robocop”) and Alexander Skarsgård (“The Northman”) were some of the top candidates, as was Tom Hiddleston – before he got the part of Thor’s brother Loki – as well as Chris Hemsworth’s younger brother Liam Hemsworth (“The Panem Tributes”).
According to casting director Sarah Halley Finn, the actor portraying Thor should fit the bill: “[We were looking for] an actor who could play an inhabitant of Asgard, which we almost equated to the style of Shakespeare, and still be completely earthy and relatable.” Chris Hemsworth, based on his first impression at his audition, apparently didn’t match that image and didn’t get a spot among the top candidates.
Shortly after, Chris Hemsworth starred in the horror film Cabin in the Woods. The director of the film Drew Goddard as well as the producer Joss Whedon encouraged him not to give up the role of Thor and wondered why he was not on the list of favorites, where even his brother Liam made it. “I don’t know. I screwed up my audition, I guess,” Chris Hemsworth said.
The new incentive from Goddard and Whedon, as well as the brother rivalry with Liam, awakened new ambition in Chris Hemsworth: “[I was frustrated] that my little brother had gotten further than me.” As a result, he and his mother recorded some dialogue between Thor and Odin, which the people in charge at Marvel Studios were thrilled with and invited him back for more screen tests. Branagh was fascinated by him. Looking back, he revealed:
“When [Chris] came to a screen test and told a story about Thor’s exploits, he did it with so much joy, so much fun and a sense of danger. He was able to cast the character of Thor in a way that felt just right to us.”
So Chris Hemsworth – despite giving up in the meantime – was ultimately able to land the role of Thor, for which he not only gained some notoriety, but was also taken to heart by many Marvel fans. Casting him as Thor and finally Hiddleston as Loki were to be Branagh’s most important and risky decisions, which, as it turned out, turned out to be extremely successful.